Re-establishing Credit After Moving from Canada

Pensive man at laptop in home office
Dear Experian,

I recently moved here from British Columbia, Canada, and when I apply for a credit card here you deny it because you say my credit information is not available. How may I make my Canadian credit record available to you so I may start a credit history here with an American credit card?


Dear LLY,

Both the law and differences in credit reporting systems prevent transferring your Canadian credit history to the United States.

For example, Canadian law places strict restrictions on the transfer of personally identifiable information across its borders. Additionally, technical differences in the credit reporting systems from software to the information included in the reports make it difficult to transfer the information from one country to another.

Reporting requirements also can create a challenge. If your Canadian lenders were to report your accounts to U.S. Credit reporting companies, they would have to have contracts with each company in which they agree to comply with U.S. Reporting requirements. That means they would have to update the account information regularly using standardized U.S. reporting systems and software and would have to respond to any disputes as required by U.S. law.

Establishing Credit History in the U.S.

In order to establish a credit history in the U.S. you will need to open a credit account in this country and then build a positive repayment history. That may not be as difficult as it sounds.

If you have an account with a multi-national lender, it may be able to transfer your account to its U.S. division, which would result in establishing a U.S. credit history.

If that option isn't available, your best alternative may be working with a bank or credit union to open an account with a small limit to get you started, or perhaps a secured account.

Then it becomes a matter of time and good account management to build a good credit history.

Thanks for asking.
The "Ask Experian" team